Why didn't the S&W Schofield survive?
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Old 06-04-2008, 03:54 PM   #1
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Default Why didn't the S&W Schofield survive?

After employing the barrel latch patents of Col. George Schofield, Smith & Wesson produced what is probably the best design for a top-break revolver. This gun was used for a few years by the U.S. Army, from 1875 until about 1880, when they were sold off as surplus, most being reworked and sold as "Wells Fargo Models." The cartridge was second only to the .45 Colt, reloading was much faster than single actions from Colt and Remington, and the guns were well made. Only about 800 or so were sold on the commercial market. The Schofield latch was superior to the T-shaped latch of the other No. 3 Models, both in use and wear resistance, probably only a little less durable than the Webley's stirrup latch.

Ah, but S&W had to pay Schofield a royalty (of twenty five cents per gun) to Schofield, and, unlike White's agreement, S&W would have to defend its use. So, with the Governemnt contract filled, S&W went back to their old No.3 .44 caliber models. Though the grip profile changed, as did the extractor, all .44 framed guns were designated as No.3 Models.

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Old 06-04-2008, 05:45 PM   #2
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From what I've read; The Schofield chambered the .45 S&W cartridge and the Colt Single Action Army chambered the longer .45 Colt cartridge. When both revolvers were applied to use for the Army, Colt had supplied the Army with ample supplies of the .45 Colt cartridge, which posed the problem of the Schofield not having the longer cylinder necessary to chamber the longer Colt cartridge but the Colt S.A.A. revolver was also able to chamber the shorter .45 S&W cartridge. This made the Colt Single Action Army more compatible when either cartridge was available. Some officers gave favorable reports on the Colt as being more accurate. One revolver to chamber both cartridges solved one problem, while everything rested between the two revolvers. The Colt Single Action Army remains to be one of the most copied revolvers in the world today, and the .45 Colt cartridge continues to have a string following among hadgun enthusiasts. I think what happened to the Schofield was the Colt Single Action Army and it's .45 Colt cartridge.

Just my opinion, I could be wrong, so don't flame me. This don't mean in anyway I'm fond or not fond of either revolver. I actually only about read these things, in books. I may or might be wrong, If so, please ignore my posts.Whew, glad to get that over with.
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Old 06-06-2008, 02:10 PM   #3
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Colt did not supply ammunition to the Army, except for the initial testing, which came from UMC. Frankford Arsenal, of Philadelphia Pa. supplied tyhe ammunition. Frankford produced the .45 Colt from 1873 until 1875, when the .45 S&W round was made. The .45 S&W round was produced up through 1900, long after the S&W Schofield had been retired from Army use.

My point was, however, that the Schofield latch could have been incorporated into later No.3 production revolvers.

Bob Wright

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Old 06-10-2008, 02:42 PM   #4
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Further reading shows Smith & Wesson dropped the latch design because they had to pay a FIFTY CENT per gun royalty to Schofield.

Bob Wright

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Old 06-10-2008, 10:08 PM   #5
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Wikipedia adds the following, which may be a factor;

"At the time his older brother, John M. Schofield, was the head of the Army Ordnance Board and the political situation may have been the main issue for the early end of army sales."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schofield_Model_3
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Old 06-11-2008, 02:15 PM   #6
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As usual, Wikipedia is not too accurate. From Wikip[edia:
"The weapon was produced mostly for the use of the American and Russian militaries, among others, and was manufactured as many knock-off variants throughout the world."

The Schofield Model was numbered as the No. 3, and was sold mainly to the Army, no Schofield Models going to Russia. The No. 3 included the American Model (.44 S&W American) , the Russian Models (.44 S&W Russian), the Turkish and Japanese Models (.44 Henry R.F.) and the Schofield Model (.45 S&W). The New Model No. 3 was made in .44 Russian, .32-44 S&W, .38-44 S&W, and in .38-40 W.C.F. There was also the .320 Revolving Rifle.

The No.3 in .44 S&W was not an official issue, but was purchased for field trials, which resulted in the Army adopting the .50 Remington single shot M1871 Pistol. The Schofield Model was approved in 1875 and was declared surplus in 1880 and sold to dealers. Many of these were cut down to 5" barrels and sold to Wells Fargo & Co.

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Old 06-11-2008, 03:57 PM   #7
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I think we went astray from the intent of my original post.

My thinking was " Why weren't all subsequent No.3 Models Schofields, regardless of caliber?" That is, why wasn't the New Model No. 3, New Model Russian, a Schofield in .44 caliber?

My thinking was that S&W balked at the fifty cent royalty Schofield required.

Remember, they paid a twenty-five cent royalty to Rollin White.

Bob Wright

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Old 06-12-2008, 03:03 PM   #8
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Bob....excellent thread learned a lot...thanks..

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